For someone who made his name in stand-up and sketch based comedy, David Baddiel’s first outing as a playwright comes as something of a surprise. God’s Dice sets an examination question that is both daunting and challenging. What would happen if the existence of God could be scientifically proven? It seems a million miles away from the Mary Whitehouse Experience and whimsy of Three Lions. But Baddiel has created an intelligent and original piece of theatre.
Henry Brook (Alan Davies) is a highly respected but unfulfilled professor of physics. His wife Virginia (Alexandra Gilbreath) is a leading writer whose books have set the benchmark for academic research in atheism. The attractive Edie (Leila Mimmack) joins Henry’s class and offers him a proposition; being asked to accept the principles of quantum physics is much like being asked to believe in God. Henry is intrigued by Edie’s assertion; and they begin work on a scientific explanation for miracles in the Christian faith. Virginia is naturally dismissive and wonders if Edie has aroused more than his intellect. Best friend Tim (Nitin Ganatra) is an IT professor and ageing lothario. He too doubts Henry’s claim he is only interested in Edie’s hypothesis. Henry decides to write a book on the subject with Edie as his researcher; he feels invigorated by the opportunity to step out of Virginia’s shadow. When the book is published Edie’s motives become clear as events take an unexpected turn. The origins of Tim’s friendship with Henry are also revealed as skeletons rattle in the closet. Henry now has to decide how finish something he started.
God’s Dice might feel like the science lesson we tried to avoid at school; but it really is much better than that. Science and faith have never been mutually inclusive; but consider the impact if it was scientifically proven that God existed. How many atheists and sceptics would become believers; imagine the power that could be wielded with such knowledge? Conversely, those with true faith would not have to be convinced that something is true. They would have no need of scientific evidence; but what if it could be used to disprove faith: would they stop believing? Yes, it all sounds heavy going for a night out at the theatre. But as would be expected, Baddiel’s script is bright and articulate with a reassuringly light touch. It raises intriguing questions about life and the potential of science to solve any problem we decide to throw its way.
The casting is pretty much spot on as the players shine in their respective roles; particularly Alan Davies, whose training as a stand-up quickly built a rapport with the audience. A smartly designed set keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace, but never dwells on the formulas and coefficients that provide the story’s inspiration. This play requires the audience to dig a bit deeper and work a bit harder, but it is well worth the effort – we might even call it edutainment.
Writer: David Baddiel
Director: James Grieve
Producers: Soho Theatre and Avalon
For tickets and more information, go to the website or call the box Office: 020 7478 0100
Booking Until: 30 November 2019